The Iranian regime is in desperate need of U.S. sanctions relief. Its economy is at rock bottom, suffering soaring inflation and unemployment. Tehran’s foreign capital reserves are all but evaporated. While parts of this economic calamity is a consequence of the government’s mismanagement and the coronavirus pandemic, the Trump administration’s sanctions also bear significant responsibility. Threatening European companies with a loss of access to U.S. markets if they continued dealing with Iran, the U.S. has overseen a great capital evacuation from Tehran. This economic weakness has depleted the resource pool available for the export of the Islamic revolution. Were Ayatollah Ali Khamenei forced to endure one more year of this pressure, his regime would be forced into choosing between risking an economically precipitated regime collapse and accepting U.S. demands for an improved nuclear accord.
Why not use this leverage?
Why not engage with our allies and underline that the U.S. is ready to rejoin the accord? But that is only if the accord is reformed to do what it is supposed to do: prevent Iran’s accession to a nuclear weapons state.